Even with all the planning you and your partner do leading up to your big day, sometimes things can go array. Be it gloomy weather, a no-show vendor or heaven forbid, your dream venue suddenly gets flooded, you can still prepare for costly hiccups that may come your way by insuring your wedding. With the average wedding costing roughly $35,000, it could prove to a wise investment for and your partner to insure it with wedding insurance. Click here to read the rest of this post »
Being named a bride’s maid of honor is not only an amazing privilege, but also a huge responsibility. As her maid of honor, the bride is trusting you to help her with navigating the stressful process of planning the wedding. It is your job to unload some, but not all, of the tasks from the bride. Here are a few of the major duties you’ll be expected to help out with. Click here to read the rest of this post »
Cake Photo: Brian Mary Photography
Honestly, what is a wedding, truly, but a really good excuse to eat really good cake? OK, OK, that may be understating things just a tad, but srsly, loves, if the wedding couple are the leading superstars of the celebration, the wedding cake’s job is to play the scene-stealing supporting role. Follow these essential tips to find, design, order and enjoy the right wedding cake for your grand affair! Click here to read the rest of this post »
If you’re like most brides, you have a wedding budget. It may be a BIG wedding budget, or, especially if you’re footing the bill for your wedding yourselves, it may be somewhat more…modest. No matter the size of your wedding budget, you’ll want to figure out where to allocate bigger dollars, and where you can to hold back a bit. Because, after all, you get what you pay for, darlin.’ With that in mind, here are our top picks in wedding splurges that are truly worth the investment.
Professional lighting can completely transform the look of your venue or space. It’s also easier on your pocketbook than flowers and decor.
Engage your guests with interactive wedding reception activities such as a photo booth or video booth, a cigar roller, or even a live wedding painter. These interactive entertainment options add something extra special to the celebration, and provide you and/or your wedding guests with wonderful take-home tokens
While a wedding cake is essential for most couples, nothing will delight your guests more than a variety of delectable sweets such as a donut wall, a candy table or a color-themed wedding reception display of mini desserts.
Late Night Snacks
If your celebration goes well into the night, guests may start to feel hungry again even after dinner has been served. Satisfy their late night cravings, with sliders, a breakfast bar or street tacos. They will thank you for it!
When it comes to documenting your wedding day, you can not have one without the other. Wedding photos will be great for albums and online posts while wedding videos will capture the speeches, dances and other priceless moments, for generations to come
Shoes & Accessories
A major designer wedding gown not in the budget? Don’t worry. You can still get the designer look you crave, by splurging on beautiful bridal shoes and bridal accessories. Choose designer bridal pumps or wedding sandals with heel bling, crystal toe accents or bows, and an exquisite veil or bridal headpiece that amps up the wattage of your wedding-day ensemble…at a fraction of the cost of a lavish custom wedding dress!
Photo: Sylvie Gil
Northern California’s Napa and Sonoma valleys both top the destination wish lists of countless to-be-wed couples in Houston, and, indeed, all over the world. One of the region’s premier event planning firms, Cole Drake Events has a deep knowledge of the area and its wedding choices, and with her genetically determined passion for parties—her mother is an event-industry icon who plans major bashes for nonprofits and California cities—co-founder Stephanie Cole spends each working day guiding wedding couples through the hills and valleys of wine-country wedding planning. Here, she offers a bit of that renowned Cole Drake know-how to Houston to-be-weds—one of her most beloved destination demographics: “They’re always so much fun to work with!”
Photo: Briana Marie Photography
Weddings in Houston: How important are Texas-based couples to the region’s wedding scene—and why do you think Napa-Sonoma is such a strong draw for Texas to-be-weds?
Stephanie Cole: Every year it seems to be that about half our wedding business comes from Texas. Napa-Sonoma has it all in my opinion: picturesque scenery, world-renowned cuisine, marvelous mixology programs, amazing wines and perfect weather (meaning no humidity, y’all). It’s easy to see why it’s such a strong draw as a destination wedding location!
WIH: What’s the best way for a Houston couple to get a feel for the region before planning their wine-country destination wedding?
SC: The best way to get a feel for the region is to come out here…come on, I’ll twist your arm to come taste wine, eat amazing food and enjoy the beautiful weather! Once a couple has made the decision to get married in wine country, the most important thing to do is find and book a local wedding planner. They can listen to what you want in the area and offer suggestions for wedding venues. They can eliminate a lot of research for you, and, if they’re good, they’ll know all of the right people to contact to check availability.
Some couples only want Napa County—I mean, I am a Napa local, so I get it. But Sonoma County has a ton of hidden gems too. Healdsburg and Sonoma are postcard-worthy towns that are underrated due to Napa’s huge name recognition.
In Napa County, Yountville, Rutherford, St. Helena and Calistoga are my favorite towns, and can all be considered wine country chic.
Photo: Aaron Delesie
WIH: What local activities or attractions should be part of a fabulous wine-country destination-wedding weekend?
SC: Wine tasting (duh) cannot be missed. One of my favorite activities for a wedding group is to have them blend their own wine! There are several wineries that offer this unique option, where guests are teamed up—we randomly pick teams by numbering off—and given specific assignments. The team creates their own wine blend together (imagine beaker, goggles and lab coat), while individually each member is responsible for other tasks (label creation, marketing strategy, financials, etc.).
After corking the wine and presenting to the judges, an overall winner is decided. It’s a great way to break the ice with people that may not have a chance to meet and mingle otherwise.
Croquet brunch at Meadowood Resort is another fantastic option. Guests dressed in all white—with fabulous sunglasses to hide the effects of the killer wedding the night before—can learn from Meadowood’s resident croquet master the skills and rules of the game before letting loose! Coupled with a brunch buffet, including a Bloody Mary bar and/or a mimosa bar, it’s one of the best ways to end your weekend celebration.
Photo: Sylvie Gil
WIH: On the culinary side, what can couples expect from local dining options?
SC: Napa County certainly boasts world-renowned cuisine. We have the Restaurant at Meadowood (with three Michelin stars), the French Laundry in Yountville (with three Michelin stars), and countless one-Michelin-star-rated restaurants. Fun fact: Yountville itself claims the most Michelin stars per capita of anywhere in North America.
Photo: Jose Villa
WIH: How can a Houston couple bring wine, and wine culture, into their Napa-Sonoma destination wedding?
SC: If a couple is in love with wine, food and wine pairings or tasting menus are the best ways to showcase it. We work with some of the best sommeliers and chefs in the area and can have them pair wines with cuisine for wedding couples and their guests.
For the wedding, small touches of wine country are definitely noticed. Utilization of barrels (don’t worry, we have a lot of them), personalized signs printed on cork, and finished wood farm tables with fashionable wine country chairs scream wine country chic.
Photo: Sylvie Gil
WIH: What advice do you have for couples who are considering a Northern California wine-country destination wedding…but may be hesitant about bucking the tradition of a big Texas nuptial bash?
SC: For my Texas clients, it generally takes them one trip to wine country as a couple (often during their courtship, or as the site of the proposal) to fall in love with the place. After they get engaged and think about their future wedding, they immediately think again of this beautiful place.
The most common concern is distance—but that’s where a planner makes it so easy. A wedding planner who is based in Napa or Sonoma knows the area, knows the key partners and knows what to expect. Your planner can offer suggestions to you (think about her as your matchmaker for your wedding dreams) and can even help you save money (and avert disasters). Simply put, planners are trained to eliminate the stress and to make your wedding vision come to fruition.
Finally, more often than not, we hear our clients lamenting that if they were to have a wedding in Texas, it would be a 300-to-400-person affair, which can be overwhelming. Here in wine country, our Texas-based wedding groups usually range in the 120-to-150-guest mark.
Photo: Sylvie Gil
WIH: We know that Texas couples are awesome…so tell us, why do you love Lone-Star-state lovebirds so much?
Year after year, Texas couples are seriously some of my favorite couples, and often become personal friends after the wedding. They always have a vision of what they want for their destination wedding, but they also have an open mind for new ideas and cost-saving suggestions. Plus, they are the sweetest and most thoughtful couples I have ever met!
Photo: Sylvie Gil